Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki said that dialogue and the peaceful solution of differences was the only way forward regarding problems in the Mediterranean, including the harassment of Cypriot fishermen by the Turkish occupation army.Speaking at a joint press conference with Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Demetris Eliades, following talks in Nicosia, Damanaki said the aim of the European Commission was to place maritime issues in the context of talks regarding Turkey`s EU accession course, adding that in each case Turkey will be judged by its response to these issues.

Eliades noted that the Turkish occupation and the violation of the rights of the Republic of Cyprus and its people by Turkey was not in line with the acquis communautaire or any concept of international law, and expressed satisfaction that Damanaki was reiterating the position of the Commission for the solution of problems on the basis of European and international law.

The Cypriot Minister said Damanaki was visiting Cyprus to prepare for Cyprus` presidency of the EU during the second half of 2012, adding that one of the major issues to be handled by the Cypriot presidency was the reform of the common fisheries policy and the European Fisheries Fund.

Eliades also referred to the full absorption of EU funds by Cyprus in the fisheries sector, and noted that the fishing shelter in Zygi, which will be inaugurated on Friday, was one of the largest fishery infrastructure projects to be completed in Cyprus, and was built with community funds.

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